For years, Mark Bittman has shared his formulas, recipes, and kitchen improvisations in his popular New York Times Eat column, in which an ingredient or essential technique is presented in different variations in a bold matrix. Accompanied by striking photographs and brief, straightforward instructions, these thematic matrices show how simple changes in preparation and ingredient swaps in a master recipe can yield dishes that are each completely different from the original, and equally delicious. In Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix, Mark’s matrices come together to create a collection of over 400 flexible recipes covering vegetables, fruits, meats and chicken, and even desserts. Whether you’re cooking up soup (creamy, brothy, earthy, or hearty), freezing ice pops (in fruity, savory, creamy, or boozy varieties), or preparing asparagus (steamed, roasted, stir-fried, or grilled), following Mark’s approach to culinary improvisation will deliver stand-out results.
I easily admit that I am not a great cook. I am a good baker and I really like to bake. However, my cooking skills are sorely lacking. I can follow a recipe and make good dinners, but I do not have a gift for cooking. I do, however, have friends who are good cooks. An unexpected guest can show up at their house and they can pull several ingredients out of their pantry, mix it together, and create an amazing dish. I am glued to recipes!
I was excited to read this book, hoping that I could learn some skills to put together amazing dishes like my friends with ingredients on-hand. I found everything I wanted and more in this book. I love the way Bitman takes a simple kitchen staple and switches it up several different ways.
The best thing is that the recipes are fairly simple. For example, celery slaw with only five ingredients, all of which I have in my kitchen without going to the market. You shred some up, toss them with the other ingredients, and you are done.
This book is a must-have for anyone who wants to take their cooking skills to the next level. It would also make a great gift as a house-warming gift to someone setting up house for the first time or even a wedding shower gift. Between this book and the Fanny Farmer cookbook, any novice chef would be set!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.